How to Plant Balled, Burlapped, and Wire Basket Trees

It’s essential to know how to plant burlapped trees to keep the root ball intact during transport and while installing the tree. Learn recommendations from the pros on whether you can leave burlap on trees when planting and whether trees with wire baskets should have the baskets removed before planting. When you’re ready to make a purchase, Dutchmaster Nurseries has a huge selection of trees to beautify your property in Ontario.

How to Plant Bare Root, Burlapped, and Wire Basket Trees 

Nursery trees may come with a bare root ball, burlapped, or burlapped with a wire basket. Each requires a slightly different treatment when planting.

  • Bare root trees: Trees with bare roots are easy to transport and typically cheaper than other formats. You probably won’t have to reposition many of the roots during planting. However, roots with no protective covering can dry out quickly. Avoid transporting bare root trees larger than 50 mm (2 inches) wide. Additionally, you’ll need to consider irrigation and staking to support the root system until it has been well established in the new location.
  • Balled and burlapped trees without wire baskets: When planting trees with burlap coverings, you don’t have to worry so much about water stress during transportation. Also, the burlap keeps the root ball intact, making it ideal for larger caliper trees. You can leave the burlap covering on because it is biodegradable. Remove any plastic twine wrapped around the ball to avoid girdling later on. Sometimes, you’ll have to stake these trees with support until the root system becomes firmly established.
  • Balled and burlapped trees with wire baskets: Wire basket trees transport easily, and it’s easier to move them because you don’t have to worry as much about damaging their root system. Depending on the circumstances, you might not need to stake these trees, which is another advantage. Wire basket trees are typically more expensive than bare root and balled and burlapped trees because they are generally larger and have higher transport costs associated with them as well. Due to the larger size and heavier weight of these trees, you will generally need heavier equipment than a trusty shovel to plant them (although this can still be done with a little more effort).

For best results, transplant trees during their dormant season. You can find burlapped trees at Dutchmaster Nurseries.

Can You Leave Burlap on Trees When Planting?

We generally recommend that burlap is left on when planting. The burlap helps to stabilize the root ball and will biodegrade over time. Some people will remove the burlap at the top of the ball once the tree is planted to allow more space for mulch or topdress but the vast majority of the burlap is left on so that the root ball remains stable. 

Should You Remove the Wire Basket?

Wire baskets may take 20 years to degrade. However, the welds typically fail before then. Even if the roots become engulfed around the wire, they typically don’t harm the trees. You may want to remove the first few layers of the wire using a wire cutter appropriate to the gauge of the metal basket. We do not recommend removing the entire basket as it can compromise the integrity of the root ball which can cause the tree to fail.

Burlapped Trees for Sale Near Me

For a guide on everything you need to know about planting a tree correctly, see our Tree Planting Guide. Contact us for more information today.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *